Not Just Any Girl — a Some Boys Short Story by Patty Blount

Posted Mar 19 2019, 11:45 pm in

I am so incredibly excited to share this story with you. A few days ago, I received a message from a teen named Tristan in Iowa who told me his girlfriend, Blasi, is a huge fan and can’t stop talking about my novel, Some Boys. He wanted to know if I’d be willing to help him with his ‘promposal’. For those not familiar with this novel, SOME BOYS is my award-winning young adult novel about a girl who accused her school’s star athlete of rape but no one believes her. 

Tristan and I exchanged a few emails and I decided to write a Some Boys short story in which main characters Ian and Grace meet…wait for it… Tristan and Blasi at a hospital emergency room. 

I’m proud to report that Tristan surprised Blasi with “their story,” invited her to prom, and SHE SAID YES!!


I let out a stream of curses as a stab of white hot pain rips into my foot. I drop to the ground, still cursing, trying to rotate my foot so I can see what the hell happened but my eyes are practically crossed.

I’m no stranger to pain.

Back when I played lacrosse, a series of concussions sidelined me for weeks and then I got into a vicious fight with my former best friend that bruised some ribs, ending any shot I had of playing sports again.

My vision, fuzzy from the foot pain, turns red when I think of Zac McMahon, of what he did, of how he lied and tried to blame it on Grace.


I shut my eyes. We’re supposed to meet for lunch and I’m late. She’ll worry. Aw, hell.

I suck in a few deep breaths, try to angle my foot so I can see but the pain just gets worse. I give it up. Still on the ground, I dig my cell out of my pocket and call Grace.

“Ian. What’s wrong?”

My heart drops. God, I hate upsetting her. Our entire relationship has been nothing but upset and it’s all Zac’s fault. Every time, every damn time I think we’re past that, something happens to dredge it all up again. For her to answer the phone with “What’s wrong?” proves it.

“Bad news, Bright Eyes.” I pause, take another breath to control the pain that’s still spiking up my right foot and leg. “I, um, did something to my foot. I can’t walk.”

“Where are you?” She demands. I hear her closing doors, grabbing keys, shuffling stuff around.

“Near the field. On the same side as the Athletics Building.”

“On my way.”

“Thanks, Grace. I love you.”

Nothing but dead air responds and that’s when I realize she ended the call.

“Damn it, damn it, damn it.” I rake both hands though my hair and just sit there, helpless, my foot screaming with every beat of my heart.



The late September weather is still hot, still bright. My first semester ever of college is off to a fantastic start. First, I nearly blow my first photography project because I was too damn scared to go out by myself to grab the pictures I needed. And now, Ian’s hurt?

We were supposed to go out tonight. Out, as in a real date, in public.

I don’t do public anymore, not since that night in the woods, the night Zac McMahon raped me. But Ian, he’s determined to help me put the past behind me, help me live like a normal college kid. He’s the only one on campus who knows what happened. We decided when we arrived here in August not to talk about it, not to give it any more power.

He planned this whole night, the first evening we’d been able to spend together in weeks. There was a concert tonight. Dancing. Good music. And, he assured me, dessert. I’d looked forward to this night for over a week. We texted all the time, but hardly saw each other. We may be attending the same school, but between classes and work schedules, tonight was the first night in nearly ten days we’d finally be in sync.

I run down the steps and out the door of my building, hurrying to the field. He said he can’t walk. This is bad. This is really bad. Ian’s a bit stoic about pain. When we got stuck spending a school break cleaning lockers, he used to get these intense dizzy spells I later discovered were actually symptoms of post-concussion syndrome. If he says he can’t walk, he’s likely close to dying.

The breath halts in my chest and I stop running, trying to gasp air in and over the block of concrete that’s suddenly crushing me. No, no, no! I do not have time for this. I am done with these stupid anxiety attacks. I haven’t had one in months. Deliberately, I start counting, forcing myself to exhale slowly and then inhale another breath. It burns, God! It burns, but I do it. And I do it again. When I’m sure I can move without collapsing, I head for the path that will take me to the Athletics Building.

When I find Ian, he’s surrounded by a small crowd of people – several students and a couple of campus cops. Two large boys are holding him up. Ian’s pretty large himself. After a big confrontation with Zac last year that almost hospitalized him, Ian became a gym rat, pumping weights until his arms, his chest, his shoulders, practically doubled in size.


“Grace. I’m okay.”

He’s lying. I can tell by the white of his lips and the tension in those new muscles. He’s in extreme pain. I drop to a crouch, reach for his foot, but he cringes.

“Stepped on a nail,” one of the campus cops says into his phone. “I can’t. It’s deeply embedded. Sure. Yeah, we’ll take care of it. Okay.” The officer ends the call and looks at Ian. “We’ll get you to the hospital.”

Ian’s lips blanche even more. But he turns to me and shakes his head. “Go on back to your dorm. I don’t want you there.”

The crowd of people helping him all go silent and I know what they’re thinking. He’s being mean, he’s trying to act all macho in front of me.

Neither is true.

He’s protecting me.

He knows how I feel about hospitals. He was the one who’d brought me to one after Zac raped me. He’s showing me that no matter how much pain he’s in, how scared he is, I matter more.

Yeah, well that shit’s not gonna fly.

I straighten up and give him the side-eye. “Suck it up, buttercup. I’m coming with.”

Ian’s laugh bursts out of him, followed by a grimace and a string of curses.

I nudge one of the guys holding up aside, take Ian’s weight.

“Bright Eyes, look at me.”

I meet his gaze straight on.

“You don’t have to do this. It’s painful, but I’ll live.”

I turn, put my hands on his face. His pallor is breaking my heart, but this is important. “You were there for me, every step. Let me be there for you.”

A frown puckers his forehead and he shakes his head. “I’m not a friggin’ loan, Grace. I don’t need repayment.”

“Ian. You promised me normal, remember? An emergency room run for an injury is normal, right?”

When he says nothing, I know I’ve got him.






The hospital’s emergency room is friggin’ packed. A guy whose nametag says Tristan Miller brings me a chair and even sinking into it makes my entire leg scream in pain. Somehow, I manage to thank him while Grace handles the small mountain of paperwork. I keep one eye on her, making sure she’s okay.

I noticed the way she tensed up when we walked in. That’s one of her tells, a sign of a panic attack. But somehow, she powers through.

The girl is a fucking superhero.

Which is good because there is a nail in my foot.




The school is apparently freaking out about a lawsuit because the crews doing construction didn’t do a good enough job of cleaning up after themselves. The nail has gone through the rubber sole of my sneaker and is now buried up to the head in my arch.

The room swims and I groan.

“Here you go, man.”

Tristan’s back, this time with a kidney-shaped tray. I hug it to my chest. “Thanks.”

He watches me, eyes alert. “We’ll get you in fast. You’re sort of jumping the line.”

“What? Why? Is it that bad?” I move my leg, trying to see for myself. Big mistake. Huge. Another wave of dizziness washes over me.

“Easy, big guy.” He pushes me back against the chair. “They just want to get you on antibiotics fast. Infection can be a big deal. How long ago did this happen?”

“I guess an hour or so ago.”

“You’re good.” Tristan pats my shoulder. “I’ll see if I can find something you can use to elevate your leg. That’ll help ease the pulse-pounding pain.”

He heads down a hallway, where he blends in with all the other people wearing scrubs in the same shade of blue.

Elevating my leg sounds like a really good idea. I shut my eyes, hoping Tristan finds something fast because if the room keeps spinning like this, I’m gonna lose my last meal.

“Ian, I need your wallet.”

I open my eyes, find Grace kneeling in front of me, pen poised over a clipboard. My wallet is in my pocket and there is no force on earth that can compel me to move that leg again to dig it out.

“Nope,” I whisper because talking is apparently enough to jostle it.

“Should I call your dad?”

Yeah. Yeah, maybe. But before I can reply, Tristan’s back, pushing an empty wheelchair.

“Okay, big guy. Let’s get you in here. I can raise the leg-rest, give you some pillows. That’ll help a lot.”

Grace moves aside. Tristan steps in front of me, bends his knees, grips me under my arms and through a wave – a fucking tsunami of pain – transfers me to the wheelchair. He extends the leg rest, helps me raise my leg on top of some pillows and produces a bottle of juice from thin air.

“Sip it slowly and keep this handy.” He holds out the kidney-shaped tray and takes off again.

“I think I love him,” I mutter. Grace cracks up.

I grin. There is no sound on earth I love more than Grace laughing. She doesn’t do it often but when she does? When she forgets what happened… what was done to her? She stops my heart.

While she laughs, there’s no pain in my foot. There’s no pain anywhere in the world. I hand her the wallet I somehow managed to retrieve in the middle of that storm.






My heart is thundering behind my ribs and my chest aches but somehow, I keep it together. I have no freakin’ idea how. Walking through those doors nearly launched me into orbit.

Is there such a thing as a hospital interior designer? Do they all shop at the same stores or something? This emergency room smells exactly like the one Ian brought me to the night Zac raped me. The same sounds ripple along the halls, the same people say the same shit and wear the same uniforms and God – oh, God, I want to be anywhere but here.

But Ian’s hurt.

The medic at the school said he stepped on a nail. Not just any nail, though. No, it’s a heavy-duty nail about three and half inches long and it penetrated his shoe all the way to its head, the point poking through the top of his foot.

I’m not sure if Ian’s noticed that part yet. My own foot has started to throb in sympathy. I sit in the chair beside Ian’s wheelchair and take his hand in mine.

It’s cold.

I grab the bottle of juice, crack the seal and hold it out for him. “Remember. Little sips.”

He nods, takes a sip. “God, that’s good.”

I have his wallet now, so I open it and look for his dad’s insurance ID card so I can complete that part of the form. I find something that’s definitely not an insurance ID card.

“Ian. What’s this?”

He glances at what’s in my hand and sighs. “This is so not how I planned tonight.”

“I know.”

His eyes, those amazing dark eyes, lift to mine. “No. You don’t know, Grace. I had everything all planned. The concert was just a cover story. That’s what we were actually going to do tonight.” He taps my hand.

In my hand are two tickets to Mamma Mia at the Civic Center. Tears sting the back of my eyes. In a fit of rage a few months ago, I’d cried in his arms that I just wanted to be able to do normal everyday stuff like go to school, go to work, go to a musical without having a stupid panic attack. Ian smirked and asked me what musical so I blurted out the first one that came to mind.

“I get that it’s not Broadway or anything, but it’s supposed to be a really great show and I even bought new clothes. I was gonna take you out for this nice meal at a restaurant that’s not part of some family chain. I promised you normal, Grace, not this, not reliving the worst night of your life.”

“Ian, stop.” I squeeze his hand and lean forward. “I am where I want to be.”

“You don’t have to say shit like that. I don’t need you to make me feel better.”

That’s not what I’m doing and a snarky comment dances on my tongue, but then I remember he’s in pain and find some patience.

“Ian Russell?”

We both turn, see a cute blond girl in scrubs standing at the hall that leads into the emergency department’s inner sanctum.

“Right here.” Ian raises a hand.

She meets us by the chairs. I hand her the clipboard full of forms and stuff the tickets back in Ian’s wallet.

“I’m Blasi,” she says. “We’re ready for you.”

“Great,” he says in obvious relief.

I reach for the back of his chair, but Blasi gets there first, releases the brake I hadn’t even noticed and leads us to a room divided up by lots of curtains.

“Okay,” she says. “Stay in the chair for now. We’ll figure out what’s next when the doctor steps in.”

The curtain shifts aside with a snick sound and a guy in scrubs steps in.

“This is Jake. He’ll take your vitals. Can I get you something? Another pillow or more juice?”

“No. Thanks, Blasi.”

Ian and Jake shake hands and then Jake sits down in front of a computer, typing in Ian’s explanation about how the nail got into his foot. There’s a whole lot of wincing, cursing, and moaning when Ian is moved from chair to gurney and the shoe cut away from his foot, displaying the nail in all its gut-twisting gory detail.

“Okay, Mr. Russell. First thing we’ll do is get some pictures, see exactly what the nail’s pierced. How we remove it will depend on what the films show.”

“Can’t you just pull it out?”

Jake grins while he pulls out packages from drawers, lays them on a rolling table. “Not until we’re sure.” He inserts an IV in Ian’s arm, hooks him up to a clear fluid in a bag behind the gurney. “Doctor will be in soon.”

He and Blasi step out, closing the curtain with another soft little scrape.

It doesn’t take long for a doctor to arrive. A woman with her hair pulled in a messy bun arrives. “Hi. I’m Doctor Rivera.” She checks the notes Jake typed into the computer and then prods the nail herself, making Ian hiss. She repeats what Jake said. X-rays first, then removal. Ian’s face is getting pale again and I’m scared for him. I move next to him, but Doctor Rivera stops me. “Sorry, sweetie. You’ll have to wait.”

Jake returns and together, he and Doctor Rivera push Ian out of the room and away.

I sit on the metal stool in the curtained area alone, feeling the pressure in my chest grow. I let my head drop to the counter and do my coping exercises, the ones I learned in therapy. I’ve been fighting this panic attack for hours now and I just don’t have any fight left in me.

A hand lands on my shoulder and suddenly, I’m across the room, hands balled into fists, breath rushing like gale force winds from my open mouth.

Blasi stands in front of me, hands up, surrender style. “It’s okay. You’re safe here,” she says with way too much knowledge in her blue eyes. “They’ve got Ian in X-ray right now. Doctor Rivera prescribed some pain killers for his IV so he’s more comfortable now. I came in here to stay with you so you won’t be worried.”

Oh God. I’m conscious of only one thought: I almost hit her. I was so scared, so afraid it was Zac that I nearly hit someone only trying to help me. I am abruptly too tired to stand and slide down the wall to the floor, shaking uncontrollably. I used to count the days. Thirty, then sixty, then ninety. It’s been over a year now. High school’s over and I never have to see Zac McMahon’s face again. So why am I not any better? Why can’t I just be a normal worried girlfriend instead of the girl everyone worries about?

“I…I’m really sorry,” I manage to say.

“It’s okay,” Blasi says and holds out her hand. “I didn’t mean to sneak up on you.”

I wave that away. It probably wouldn’t have mattered if I’d known she was there. It’s time to face facts. I’m always going to be like this. This is my new reality.

My new normal.

Blasi presses tissues into my hand and only then do I realize I’m crying and isn’t that just perfect? Ian hates when I cry and get mascara everywhere. At least I don’t wear as much makeup as I used to. What would be the point?

Slowly, Blasi crouches down and sits beside me.

“You really love him.”

It isn’t a question.

I nod anyway. “Yeah.”

“He loves you right back.”

I snort, shrug. “Yeah. God knows why. I’m…broken.” I climb to my feet, shove the stupid stool out of my way. I want to smash the entire room into tiny little fragments but I know it won’t solve a damn thing.

“Can I give you some advice?”

I can’t help it. I laugh. I’m pacing around a hospital emergency room trying to block a full-blown panic attack and a person I met literally five minutes ago wants to give me advice. I think about it for a minute or two and finally shrug.

“I’ve been volunteering here for about a year now,” she began. “I see patients who pretend they’re not as sick or as injured or in as much pain as they really are. And I see relatives who pretend they’re not as worried, not as scared, as they really are. All this pretending leads to a lot of problems, not the least of which is receiving the wrong care.”

Dread twists inside me. I’d never thought of Ian getting the wrong care. I’d insisted on coming here to be with him, to be strong for him even after he’d told me not to come with him.

That hadn’t been to protect me at all. It had been to save himself and damn it, he should be allowed to do that. Since we started dating, he anointed himself my protector.

Who protects him?

I reach for the stool I shoved out of the way and slowly sink down on it.

“I don’t know what to do,” I admit.

Blasi climbs to her feet. “Well, try exfoliating. Works for me.”

I blink. What the hell does skin care have to do with any of this? Sensing my utter confusion, she laughs. “It’s a theory I have. Feelings are like acne. The more you try to cover up a blemish, hide it, camouflage it or whatever, the bigger it grows until it finally erupts.”

I stare at her, astounded because that makes a weird sort of sense.

“The anxiety attack you just had is because you spend all your time covering up, hiding, and camouflaging your real feelings. So…”


Blasi smiles. “Exactly. So, exfoliate. Get to the heart of things. It’s tough but if you keep asking why you feel a certain way and try to explain yourself, you can really dig deep, clear everything up. But hey, I’m not a doctor or anything. Like I said. It’s a theory.”

The curtain snicks open and Ian’s back. I’m ridiculously happy to see him. He seems better. His lips aren’t so white and his body is much more relaxed.

“Good news, Bright Eyes,” he says with a grin. “The nail is not inside bone.”

What was left of my anxiety evaporates with that news.

Doctor Rivera steps inside, slaps an X-Ray to the lightbox on the wall and gives us her plan. “Okay. The nail’s embedded in soft tissue. I can extract it right here, clean the wound, give you a tetanus shot and some antibiotics and have you out of here in an hour.”

Ian sits up straighter at that. “An hour? Seriously?”

“Yeah. Got a hot date or something?”

“As a matter of fact…”

“Ian, do you want me to stay here with you or wait outside?”

He angles his head, looks at me with a frown. “What?”

“I don’t want you to worry about scaring me. If you want to cry, scream, or curse while Doctor Rivera treats you, you should be able to do what’s best for you without worrying about how I’ll react.”

At that, he does visibly relax. “I would really like it if you’d wait outside.”


“You’re not mad?”

“No.” I lean over and kiss him. He pulls me in closer.

“Thanks,” he whispers and kisses my forehead. Like always, I melt.

“If you change your mind, I’ll come right back in.”

“I won’t.”


I turn and head for the waiting room chairs and as promised, Doctor Rivera has him on his feet less than an hour later. He’s limping but he’s walking without crutches so, I’m calling this a victory.

With his injured foot heavily wrapped, we wait outside for an Uber to take us back to campus. Ian takes my hand and pulls me in for a hug.

“Thank you.”

“What for?”

“For giving me what I didn’t know I needed.”

I hug him back. I stay there for a long time, not only wrapped in Ian’s arms, but wrapping him in mine, too. I feel good. Strong. Hopeful. For the first time in the 914 days that have passed since the rape, I feel close to me again, to the Grace who used to know exactly who she was and how to get what she wanted.

The car arrives and I help Ian slide in first. I turn, glance back at the ER entrance and spot Blasi and Tristan walking out. They wave.

I wave back and slide in the car beside Ian.

We’re going to be okay.

I can feel it.












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